First Trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The steady flow of trailers for 2012's most anticipated movies continues to poor in this month, as we finally get our first glimpse at "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", the first part of Peter Jackson's epic telling of the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novel of the same name.

People have been anxiously awaited the first look at a film that has been no stranger to controversy over the course of its production. Delays, problems, quittings, even MGM's bankruptcy made everyone wonder whether the film was ever going to be made. The project even game Peter Jackson, who stepped in after Guillermo Del Toro had enough with the production, an ulcer at one point.

But filming would finally get back on track earlier this year, and the finishes product seems to be finally coming together. Here's the first trailer for part one:

It's hard to really get a grasp on our level of excitement for the film based on this one trailer. It definitely looks polished, and the direction is clear, but Lord of the Rings set the bar incredibly high, and I'm uncertain whether The Hobbit can reach that again, even with state of the art visuals, and incredible cast and a more than competent director/producer at the helm. Outside of the final moment of the trailer where Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) finally encounters Gollum (Andy Serkis), there wasn't really a "wow" moment. Just a steady pace introducing (or in some cases, like Ian McKellen's Gandalf, reintroducing) new characters and the setting for the film.

We're still not sure how well the returning characters from LOTR will fit in to the film while looking a decade older, or whether the film will offer the same level of excitement and mystifying pleasure that the previous films did, especially for those less familiar with the classic novels. It's not that we're not excited, it's that the trailer seems to assume that we already are, and that makes for a slower pace that might do a disservice to the film in the long run. It's like it's saying, "hey look, we're the guys who made Lord of the Rings, so here's some more Lord of the Rings stuff, now buy your ticket", and whether that strategy is viable in a 2012 market remains to be seen.

Still, how can you say anything bad about this project? It's overcome the odds, it's done everything right from a casting standpoint and it would be really difficult for it to screw anything up, frankly. We're already pretty sure it will be good. As mentioned, the question that remains is whether it can recreate the uniqueness and excitement of the trilogy it's trying to follow.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" hits theaters December 14, 2012, with "There and Back Again" releasing December 13 the next year, and the films star Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis, and many more (both from the original trilogy and new additions), with of course Peter Jackson at the helm.